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Dictatorship in a single export crop economy

  • Bart Capéau
  • Philip Verwimp

We provide an analysis of a power-maximising model for dictatorial behaviour. In the model, the dictator’s revenues depend on the exports of a single crop. Using export earnings the dictator buys loyalty from the producers of the export crop by setting the domestic producer price. Revenues resulting from the difference between the international and the domestic price of the crop are used to finance a repressive apparatus. We present a complete comparative statics analysis of the choice between repression and loyalty to obtain power, in response to changes in the international price of the single crop in the economy. The results allow for a novel classification of power-maximising behaviour into benevolent, tyrannical and totalitarian dictatorships. We argue that the model and the associated dictatorship typology can be embedded into Wintrobe’s more general specification of a dictator’s objective function, which combines aspirations for power with rent-seeking motives. We compare our analysis with empirical observations of the Habyarimana regime in Rwanda (1973–1994).JEL Classification Numbers: D72, H30, H56.

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Article provided by in its journal Journal of Theoretical Politics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 210-234

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Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:24:y:2012:i:2:p:210-234
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," Working papers 99-26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hardle, W., 1992. "Applied Nonparametric Methods," Papers 9206, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  4. Lam, R., 1999. "Dictatorship as a Political Dutch Disease," Papers 795, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  5. Ricky Lam & Leonard Wantchekon, 1999. "Dictatorships as a Political Dutch Disease," Working Papers 795, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521583299 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Oliver LINTON, . "Applied nonparametric methods," Statistic und Oekonometrie 9312, Humboldt Universitaet Berlin.
  8. Verwimp, Philip, 2003. "The political economy of coffee, dictatorship, and genocide," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 161-181, June.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521794497 is not listed on IDEAS
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